The cutter from Yu Darvish landed in the upper inside corner of the strike zone, and Deven Marrero got just enough of it. He watched the ball carry to right field at loanDepot park, his first start at his hometown ballpark for his hometown team in almost two years, and finally — barely — clearing the wall for a solo home run.
“I was just trying to see him up in the zone and shoot it the other way,” Marrero said. “He left one up, and it went out … somehow.”
Marrero’s 356-foot home run — his first homer as a big leaguer since 2017 and his first hit in any capacity with the Miami Marlins — started a highlight day for him specifically and Miami’s offense as a whole on Sunday as the Marlins beat the San Diego Padres 9-3 to split a four-game series.
Marrero, a Plantation American Heritage alumnus with 165 career games at the MLB level over six seasons, tied a career-high with three hits while also scoring three runs and stealing a base. Marrero scored Miami’s go-ahead run in the fifth when he reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on a Magneuris Sierra RBI double.
He was the 38th player in Marlins history whose first hit with the club was a home run and the third to do so this season (also Adam Duvall and Joe Panik).
“Deven had a great game,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Sandy Alcantara’s return
The Marlins on Sunday activated starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara from the bereavement list and the plan is for him to start on Tuesday when Miami begins a two-game road series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Alcantara threw a bullpen at loanDepot park on Sunday and “looked good,” Mattingly said.
On the season, Alcantara has a 3.23 ERA with 105 strikeouts against 37 walks and a .233 batting average against over 119 2/3 innings in 20 starts.
Alcantara’s return brings back at least one stable member to Miami’s pitching rotation. Pablo Lopez and Trevor Rogers are both on the injured list. Lopez has a right rotator cuff strain. Rogers is dealing with lower back muscle spasms.
Each of Miami’s last nine games have included either a rookie starting pitcher or been a bullpen game.
The four on the mound against the Padres: Anthony Bender as an opener before giving way to Jordan Holloway on Thursday, Zach Thompson on Friday, Braxton Garrett on Saturday and John Curtiss as an opener on Sunday.
Since being recalled to the active roster on July 19, outfielder Lewis Brinson has a hit in all five games in which he has had a plate appearance. He’s hitting .357 (5 for 14) with two doubles, one home run, three RBI and two runs scored.
“A lot of confidence right now, honestly,” Brinson said. “You know, just the work I’ve been putting in. I’m trusting myself and trusting my work. I just take it into the game, not to put too much pressure on myself to try to hit that three-run homer but just to go out there and do it. I’m able to do that right now so you keep this going. I’m gonna keep this confidence going and keep the work going, too.”
This and that
▪ The Marlins, despite being 14 games under .500, once again have a positive run differential. They have scored one more run than their opponents over the first 100 games of the season (391 runs scored, 390 runs allowed). They are the only team in baseball this season with a positive run differential and a losing record.
▪ The Marlins have scored at least nine runs 11 times this season and are 13-0 in games in which they score at least eight runs.
▪ After a three-hit game on Sunday, outfielder Starling Marte had a .303 batting average on the season. He also stole two bases on Sunday, bringing his season total to 21, which is tied with the Washington Nationals’ Trea Turner for the third most in MLB.